Let us spray

Street Art miniature sheet

Once again I find myself buried beneath an avalanche of boringwork and sadly the blog has gone a bit quiet. But as soon as I caught a chromey whiff of this issue from Australia,  I knew I would have to tell you about it. I give you: Street Art.

Adnate Hosier Lane

Australia has a vibrant street art culture, and full credit to Australia Post for celebrating it with this issue. It has thrilled me since the moment I saw the front cover of the most recent edition of AP’s Stamp Bulletin (a heads-up for philatelic geeks), boasting the same glorious image that appears on the Hosier Lane stamp. I can never get enough of Matt Adnate’s enormous, breathtakingly realistic murals, often paying tribute to Australia’s indigenous peoples. Travelling around our shared hometown of Melbourne, they are a constant source of wonder and inspiration. Take a moment to appreciate the three storeys visible along the right hand side of this stamp to obtain a sense of the scale of his work. A visit to his website is an absolute must. He’s also on Instagram.

As detailed at AP’s Collectables blog, the other glorious artworks featured are Adelaide’s Vans the Omega, Ireland’s Fin DAC, and Melbourne’s Phibs and Rone. AP reports that the Phibs and Rone piece – with its piercing gaze of the female in blue – has been painted over now.

Rone and Phibs Rutledge LaneBut perhaps this image’s destruction fulfills its destiny; Rone’s own website notes that “seeing his artworks gradually worn away by natural and human elements has taught him to appreciate the unexpected beauty of an image as it begins to blend back into its more prosaic surroundings.” The constantly changing canvases on Melbourne’s walls reward those locals who keep open eyes while tracing well-worn paths through the city. How wonderful to have this beautiful work preserved for posterity on a stamp.

I love this issue. I’m not sure what some of the old men of philately will make of it, but I give a whole-hearted Respect to Aussie Post for shredding the notion of which kind of art is Worthy enough to be featured on the nation’s postage stamps. To be honest, I was kinda hoping on some outrage from the right-wing tabloids or radio shock jocks about Australia Post Encouraging This Mindless Vandalism or some such, but I haven’t seen any. That’s either a credit to the cultural maturity of the nation, or an indictment on Australia Post’s publicity department.

I do have one criticism, or a question, at least. Why no artists’ names? If these works are good enough to be selected as feature examples, surely the artists deserve the same credit given to Streeton and Nolan earlier this year? Perhaps it’s a stylistic choice, some nod to the guerilla ethos of street art. I hope it’s not because some fuddy duddy said “We can’t put ‘Vans the Omega’ on a stamp, it would look stupid.” Need I remind you that Australia’s ‘rock posters’ issue featured a stamp that blared ‘Mental As Anything’? (You can spot it in my blog header!)

That aside, it’s worth me repeating this old chestnut: if you’re an Australian, and you’re reading this, remember that you are not obliged to accept the bland postage labels thoughtlessly slapped on your next package by post office staff. That beautiful $4 minisheet at the top of this page is available in post offices and will come in very handy to pay $4+ in postage. Even if it ends up in the bin, you will make this mundane world just a little bit less boring, and what could be a better tribute to the street artists of the world?

Enjoy this post? Spray me on the walls of the world! Like, link, comment, share! Say hello on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! x

 

Australia’s best (and worst) of 2016

Australia 2016 Jewel Beetles $1 Stigmodera gratiosa stamp

…In which I attempt to cover a year of review and bitching in one fell swoop.

Each year, Australia Post holds its annual survey in which stamp collectors can vote for their favourite – and least favourite – issue. This used to be an exercise on paper, with a few variations on a simple ‘What was your favourite?’ ‘What was your least favourite?’ type arrangement, with prize giveaways for random winners. Now it’s gone all high-tech, with a detailed SurveyMonkey page, in which all issues must be ranked in order from 1 to 32.

Australia Posts's Survey Monkey Stamp Poll 2016

On the upside, I enjoyed the OCD-triggering task of putting every single issue in its rightful place. On the downside, no prize giveaways. I guess AP has to pay for its CEO’s $4.8 million pay packet somehow.

I could swear I saw the final results somewhere, but I can’t seem to Google it anywhere, and the survey I’ve linked to above still seems to be open. Surely I’m not so lame that I dreamed it? I saw it in such detail! Maybe I was shown the running tallies when I finished the survey? Anyway, this isn’t your problem. The important thing is that I am going to tell you which were the best stamps and which were the worst, as judged by my own brain, so survey results don’t matter. Why Australia? Because I live there, silly.

In no particular order (and with each issue’s title linking to the extremely commendable Australia Post Collectables blog site for more info), Australia’s unquestionably best issues were: Continue reading

Retrogasm!

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels stamp set

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels stamp setHelloooo! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I’m going to make up for my stony silence with loads of pretty pictures, inspired by Australia’s Nostalgic Fruit Label stamps, over which I’ve been soiling myself since their release in June.

They celebrate the paper labels that used to be slapped onto the wooden fruit crates in the olden days before Styrofoam boxes.

What I love about these stamps is that they retain the microscopic details of the original labels. I wonder how many of the three people still using stamps will take a moment to appreciate the artist’s work seen, for example, on this River’s Pride label, and take in the fenceposts, the orchard and the veining on the half-peeled orange.

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels $1 River's Pride stamp

If you, like me, are a little fascinated by oldey-timey culture, it’s not out of the question that something would appeal to you about both these designs and also ye olde schoole world of stamp collecting. You may have been given the impression that it involves a lot of old stamps with kings and queens and presidents on them that cost a lot of money. Well, I have good news. There are no rules. We collect whatever the fuck we want. And one could do worse than start with collecting vintage graphic designs on stamps, because it’s so hot right now. Continue reading

Well, smack my gob

Central African Republic 2016 Homage to David Bowie 3000f minisheet

Sorry for my long absence from the blog, folks! You’d think a hired assassin working for top dollar would be offered a decent wifi connection, but covert black ops budgets aren’t what they used to be. A big welcome to new followers. I promise not to hit you with a ninja star from behind a tree before you even know I’m there.

So, I’m home now and back to the hobby of punks. If you, like me, were a kid collecting stamps in the 70s or 80s or 90s – or even if you’re collecting now, in which case: hello! I thought you were dead –  your album was probably brimming with big, colourful stamps from developing countries that had little relevance to the issuing nation. Because who’s to say that Equatorial Guinea can’t celebrate the centenary of Japanese railroads?

Equatorial Guinea 1972 3ptas Centenary of Japanese Railroads

The motivation for this phenomenon is Continue reading

I found an old stamp album. Am I rich?

Stamp Album Small

If you’ve found this page after Googling that question, welcome! I’ll have your answer shortly. But first, a few variations:

I inherited a stamp collection! Am I rich?
I used to collect stamps when I was a kid and the album is lying around somewhere. Am I rich?

The answer to all of these questions is…. Continue reading

FIGHT THE BORING!

Australia 2015 Cats strip

This is a call to arms. To everyone, especially people selling things on sites like eBay or Etsy, or people who like sending presents through the mail. Listen up, and get ready to hit Share. Because we’ve got to get the word out, or we’re doomed. (Are you an Internet news site editor looking for content? Go nuts.)

So, you sold something on eBay? Or you’re posting a present? Bloody good on you.

You’ll take your thing to a post office, where a bored employee will weigh it, hit a button, print out a dreary docket, stick it on your thing, and off it goes. Efficient, effective, and YOU’RE THE REASON THE BAD GUYS ARE WINNING! Doubly so if you’re printing out your docket straight from eBay and not even entering a post office.

Who is winning? The forces of BORING! Continue reading